The record-shattering spring storm that blanketed Anchorage on Friday created trouble all around town.
Events were canceled or postponed, including the Heart Run, the biggest footrace in the state.
Police reported one fatal crash, when a pickup spun out of control on O'Malley Road and hit another truck head on. The driver of the second truck wasn't wearing a seat belt and was killed. His wife went to the hospital in critical condition.
The National Weather Service declared a heavy snow warning in effect until 8 a.m. today. People should travel only in an emergency, the Weather Service said. The storm was expected to subside by this morning. Some parts of town should get two feet by the time it ends.
The state announced a two-week extension of studded tire season because of the snow dump. That means drivers in much of the state now have until May 15 to get the studs off.
Even before the evening rush hour, 16 wrecks were reported in Anchorage including the fatality and two others with injuries. By 9:40 p.m. the Anchorage Police Department recorded 53 vehicles in ditches, stuck or otherwise in distress and a total of 26 accidents.
Four school buses ran off the road, but no one was injured, according to the Anchorage School District. The district canceled all outdoor activities and an Anchorage Junior Youth Symphony concert scheduled Friday evening.
Chugach Electric Association reported about 1,500 to 2,000 customers without power as of 9:30 p.m., mostly due to trees falling on lines. ML&P had about 900 customers out.
The storm hit hard after a run of sunny and warm spring days. People were washing their cars. Crocuses and daffodils were popping up.
It all was buried under the biggest snow dump on April 25 ever noted in Anchorage.
By 5:30 p.m., around 10 inches of snow had fallen at the National Weather Service office in Sand Lake. By 7:30 p.m., East Anchorage was reporting up to 16 inches. The snowfall was predicted to continue all night and into today, with rain or snow showers to follow. The previous record for the day: under an inch, in 1959.
Organizers postponed today's Heart Run, the big race that kicks off Anchorage's running season. They are trying to reschedule but had nothing firm to announce Friday. Nearly 7,000 people had signed up for the 30th Heart Run. It was postponed only once before, when a volcano erupted.
"Our race course marshals told us the course wasn't safe," said Amanda Price, executive director of the American Heart Association in Alaska. Potholes and other hazards were hidden under inches of heavy wet snow and there was no way to mark them or clear off the city streets with the snow falling so hard and steady, she said.
The news disappointed hordes of runners.
One was three-time winner Jerry Ross, who happily watched the snow accumulate Friday at his job at Skinny Raven Sports.
He hadn't signed up yet, but kept saying that if the weather stayed bad, he would get excited about the race. It just made things more fun and maybe gave him an edge over a couple of superfast high school kids he was watching. "All kinds of snow -- it's going to be nasty. It's adverse. Generally that makes for fun running," Ross said.
Organizers haven't decided how to handle requests for refunds. They hope people will consider their entry fee a donation to the Heart Association.
Both the state and the city had started to sweep roads free of gravel and sand. Now they're bringing the snow plowers and graders back out.
"We'll be totally out in force," said Dan Southard, street maintenance superintendent for Anchorage.
STORM COVERED STATE
The storm was huge.
"There was a pretty strong cold front that just pushed through this morning and kind of stalled over the Southcentral area," meteorologist Tom Dang said early in the day. "It's a storm system that literally covers the whole state of Alaska."
State Troopers advised against unnecessary travel. Anchorage police reminded drivers to slow down and keep their distance from the vehicle in front of them. Roads were slick and crews couldn't clear them fast enough.
"I've got no studs at all. It's just terrible," said Sam Toothman of Willow.
Talkeetna residents had just begun to drive around with their windows down when the storm blew in.
"I woke up this morning and it was just falling out of the sky, those big globs of wet snow," said Trisha Costello, owner of Talkeetna Roadhouse. The return of winter was "a little disappointing."
SKIERS: CHECK HOT LINE
Crews from the Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage had considered their grooming work done for the season but are back out checking the trails.
"Underneath all this right now is a bunch of water," said Ben Powell, the ski association's operations director. Crews will monitor the trails into the night to see if the snow is firm enough for the groomers. Check the ski hotline at 248-6667 for the latest.
The studded tire extension means that drivers in areas north of 60 degrees latitude, which includes Seward and points north, must change to summer tires by May 15. Points south, including the vicinity of Homer and Anchor Point, have until Tuesday.
Crews had planned to close the Glenn Highway at Bragaw Street on Friday evening to remove the pedestrian walkway for an overpass project. That work was postponed too. The project team will regroup today to decide if the work can take place over the weekend.
It's supposed to warm up a bit today, maybe into the 40s.
Find Lisa Demer online at adn.com/contact/ldemer or call 257-4390. Daily News reporters Jim Halpin and Joe Ditzler contributed to this story.